What is the English equivalent of the Hindi saying "Dusre par bill fadna"?

The meaning of the Hindi saying is stating a request as though it is others who want it when in fact it is you who want it really badly. The translation is "presenting the bill as another's request ("Bill = invoice" as known in India)"


John and Roger moved into a block of apartments at around the same time, and soon became good friends. Some time later, Roger told John that he would like to go the local theme park. But John repeatedly rejected this request ... so Roger eventually stopped asking, but without any ill feeling. A few months later, a cute girl named Jennifer moved into the same apartment block.

Within a few days, Jennifer popped the same request to go to same the theme park to John. John this time eagerly agreed to it, but highlighted his big-heartedness by saying that actually it was Roger who wanted to go.

In this situation, the Hindi saying aptly fits. John is 'putting the bill' on Roger when actually it is he who is (now) eager to go (just because there is a cute girl involved). But the 'blame' is on Roger and John is innocently(!) saying yes to both of their requests.

  • I'm not sure there is anything more specific than dissembling // being duplistic / disingenuous, AMN. Not being totally honest (though not actually lying). There's also, in the same ballpark (but a long way from the action) 'passing the buck', but this usually refers to something that is actually blameworthy. And I'll say that no 'answers' should just echo these general descriptions. //// 'Blame' is not really the correct word here as Roger is not being 'accused' of anything improper, merely used as a convenience; and 'bill' doesn't sound natural. I think we need to import the Hindi idiom! – Edwin Ashworth Jun 25 at 10:21
  • I've read this question twice, and I still don't understand what this "saying" means from the example given. Your "definition" of the Hindi saying (stating a request as though it is others who want it) doesn't seem connected to your curious example (complying with a request, but pointing out that someone else is even more keen to perform the requested action). It's just too convoluted to even get my head around, let alone expect to find it enshrined in some pithy "proverb". – FumbleFingers Jun 25 at 12:03

We know, not all proverbs have an equivalent proverb in English. But the fun fact here is that proverbs or idioms are created by normal people which later become widely used. So, you can use your awesome creativity to create an English proverb out of the Hindi one.

For example:

Crediting your bill to someone else's account.

Shifting your empty coffee mug to someone else's table. etc.

Hope it helps :)


I think your example doesn't fully match up with your provided translation and description. With your example, it is in some sense correct that Roger wants to go to the theme park, since he originally suggested it (and presumably still wants to go). In this case, I think the expression giving credit where credit is due works pretty well.

Now let's imagine a different situation: There's been a large outbreak of polio, which can be transmitted in swimming pools. John writes an editorial expressing concern about this mode of transmission, saying pool owners should post health notices and make sure their pools are adequately sanitized. Roger, a city mayor, closes all the public pools and claims John's editorial as support for this measure (even though John's editorial doesn't mention closing the pools). In this case, contrasted with the previous example, it's incorrect to give credit/blame to John for Roger's actions. With this example, my immediate thought would be to use the term shifting blame (i.e. Roger is shifting blame to John).

  • There is validity for John's rightness per say. Although Roger has in fact asked this request does not entail that it is valid after certain period since he has stop asking it.The point here is John should not be taking his name (Roger's) alone for agreeing to Jennifer's request now after all this while. He should be emphatically using his own wiliness in that place. Thus saying comes in to play. As we speak, I feel "Passing the buck" could be closer possibility for lack of a better phrase, but I am not sure,I need users to vouch for such an phrase application otherwise it is pretty embarrsing – AMN Jun 26 at 6:28

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